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science nutrition blog

Nitrates promote endurance performance slightly— according to a literature review and meta-analysis by researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia. The blood vessels use nitrates in food such as beetroot to produce nitric oxide— a critical chemical that promotes blood flow, improves sexual performance and enhances energy levels. The capacity of the endothelial cells (cells lining the blood vessels) to secrete nitric oxide is an important measure of cardiovascular health and performance. Healthy blood vessels secrete nitric oxide, which promotes blood flow to tissues throughout the body. Nitrites from food sources such as processed meats might increase the risk of cancer, so it’s probably best to consume nitrates and nitrites from vegetable sources rather than from hot dogs or bologna. (International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 23, 522-532, 2013)